Radiation, temperature, and vacuum effects on piezoelectric wafer active sensors

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Physics, Mechanical, Engineering


The effect of radiation, temperature, and vacuum (RTV) on piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWASs) is discussed. This study is relevant for extending structural health monitoring (SHM) methods to space vehicle applications that are likely to be subjected to harsh environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures (hot and cold), cosmic radiation, and interplanetary vacuums. This study contains both theoretical and experimental investigations with the use of electromechanical impedance spectroscopy (EMIS). In the theoretical part, analytical models of circular PWAS resonators were used to derive analytical expressions for the temperature sensitivities of EMIS resonance and antiresonance behavior. Closed-form expressions for frequency and peak values at resonance and antiresonance were derived as functions of the coefficients of thermal expansion, the Poisson ratio, and its sensitivity, the relative compliance gradient and the Bessel function root, and its sensitivity, In the experimental part, tests were conducted to subject the PWAS transducers to RTV conditions. In one set of experiments, several RTV exposure, cycles were applied with EMIS signatures recorded at the beginning and after each of the repeated cycles. In another set of experiments, PWAS transducers were subjected to various temperatures and the EMIS signatures were recorded at each temperature after stabilization. The processing of measured EMIS data from the first set of experiments revealed that the resonance and antiresonance frequencies changed by less than 1% due to RTV exposure, whereas the resonance and antiresonance amplitudes changed by around 15%. After processing an individual set of EMIS data from the second set of experiments, it was determined that the relative temperature sensitivity of the antiresonance frequency ( is approximately and the relative temperature sensitivity of the antiresonance amplitude (ReZ) is approximately A tentative statistical analysis and comparative plots of the data from sets of PWAS transducers revealed that the trends observed on an individual PWAS are also observed on the entire set of PWAS transducers. The article concludes with a summary, conclusions, and suggestions for further work.